Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back Me Up On This One

Last week a couple of us were talking about David Bowie (you might be surprised to know how frequently Bowie is a topic of conversation for me) and it occurred to me that his Let's Dance album was the first time I ever heard Stevie Ray Vaughan (you all should know how frequently he's a topic of conversation for me).  I got it for Christmas the year it was released to go with my brand spanking new Walkman and I loved that guitar more than I can tell you though I had no idea who it was at the time.  Give it a listen, if you're familiar with SRV you should totally be able to pick it out now regardless of what Bowie is doing in the desert there.

So then I was thinking about other musicians I love who started out doing session work (everyone has to start somewhere, after all) and I found some really cool stuff.  Let's start with a drummer.  For Sheila E.'s debut she sang on the Purple Rain soundtrack with Prince, on "Erotic City" which was the B-side of "Let's Go Crazy."  Go, dig out your 45, I'll wait.  Though Prince launched her into the stratosphere she probably didn't need his help, being that her dad is jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo.  And, you know, she's freaking amazing.

Let's stay with jazz for a second.  Dizzy Gillespie played with or composed for or influenced most of modern jazz :  Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Chuck Mangione, Woody Herman, among others.  His firing from Cab Calloway's band in 1941 was the subject of  the 1997 movie The Spitball Story.  Before he joined Calloway's orchestra a 21 year old Gillespie played his trumpet on Lionel Hampton's "Hot Mallets," my favorite jazz record ever.

Doesn't that vibe sound like starlight?  It does to me.  Anyway, if you're looking through some old liner notes and run across a familiar name, leave it in the comments or shoot me an email.  Have a great day!


  1. wasn't Toto a band of session musicians?

  2. I think so, I'll check it out and let you know.

  3. I love Dizzy! One of my favourite guitarists, Vernon Reid (of Living Colour), did session work on a Mick Jagger record before his band was catapulted into the big time. He also played on the record of a virtuoso glockenspiel player!

  4. I like and appreciate Bowie, but my oldest child is a major fan.

    Toto was started by some session musicians. Not sure what it is today.

    Vernon Reid I know, but the virtuoso glockenspiel player? I'll have to look that up.

  5. @Skully...that's not info that you sit on...I need to know who the virtuoso glockenspiel player is, lol!

    @Frenz and Kurbiss...Toto seems to have reformed and you can find their current lineup here.


  6. Haha! Well being the collector nerd that I am I actually own this record. It's Jay Hoggard (Riverside Dance LP, 1985)... but I got the instrument slightly wrong. He plays a Vibraphone not a glockenspiel. The former being slightly more sophisticated than the later!

  7. @Skully...THANK YOU for turning me on to Jay Hoggard...all I can say is wow!


Thanks for commenting!